Dominion Energy, a leading energy provider in Virginia, is proposing upgrades to the state’s energy grid at a cost of $594 million through 2021.
Some of the upgrades include a stronger investment in clean energy, new tools for customers to manage energy use, more secure infrastructure and better technology. Although state government would have to allocate funding for the plan, the company said it would not raise rates to accomplish this.
Audrey Cannon, a communications specialist for Dominion Energy, told The Center Square that the company conducted a cost-benefit analysis and found that the improvements would be worth the investment. She said that the analysis found that for every dollar invested, customers would see more than one dollar worth of benefits over their lifetimes.
“Prior to filing this year, we conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis,” Cannon said. “This helped us demonstrate how the proposal offers a great value for our customers. We also sought extensive stakeholder feedback, by conducting customer surveys and meetings with community members. Our customers told us they want more choices, more access to clean energy, and service that’s both reliable and affordable. The 2019 filing demonstrates how a transformed grid is key to deliver what our customers expect.”
This is Dominion’s second attempt at a plan to restructure Virginia’s energy grid. Most of the first plan was rejected by the State Corporation Commission in January. The previous plan was determined to not be cost effective and to be a net loss for consumers. Among the rejected proposals were metering infrastructure and intelligent grid devices.
The latest plan would allow for more adaptable green energy by allowing energy produced at a customer’s home to be delivered into the wider energy grid. It would also accelerate the development of more energy efficient means of transportation.
The investments would allow for customers to receive smart meters, which will provide more tools for managing energy use and bills. Customers could receive alerts for potentially high bills and updates on power outages.
Dominion expects that investments in better technology and infrastructure will lead to fewer and shorter power outages. The aforementioned smart devices would automatically alert Dominion in the case of an outage to help address those outages and prevent the spread of outages.